New Jersey-born artist Nija Charles was always destined to achieve great things in music.
Her dad is a Dj, her mother is a dancer and her aunt and uncle are music producers. The whole family spent a great deal of their life surrounded by sound and positivity. Growing up in church, gospel was always a big part of her sound influences as her grandmother was in the choir. It is at the age of 13 that Charles began to actually create and make her own sound, when she asked her mom for a mini keyboard in order to produce music. This ended up being the most significant gift as she never stopped hitting the keys ever since. Like many new artists of this generation, Nija was recording snippets of her sound on Instagram, and eventually, A&Rs and other producers started to notice her and she quickly built her network that way.
Now, at only 24 years old she has already worked with artists such as Beyoncé, Jay Z, Cardi B, SZA, Kehlani, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, Drake, Jason Derulo, 21 Savage and the list goes on. She won two Grammy in 2021 for co-writing Beyonce’s music tracks, "I Do" and "Ring" featured in the said album.
Her achievements are so great that she even got a street named after her, the same street she actually grew up on in Union, New Jersey and it is now called Nija Charles. This wonderful and surprising idea came from both her best friend and her manager Christian McCurdy who wanted to celebrate the success the songwriter's achieved during the pandemic. We had the honor to talk to Nija over a Zoom call., Enjoy! Which music genre inspires you to create and do you take inspiration from different styles and instruments?
I grew up on so many genres of music. Being from Jersey it’s a melting pot of a whole bunch of different genres. My parents weren't really old fashioned, they were always in the know. House music is pretty big in Jersey and my parents were both house heads but were also into rock music, r’n’b, and I grew up in the church so there was gospel as well. My grandparents played a lot of 70s R’n’b and jazz, so I was able to have a lot of different music around me. I would say that my favorite of all those, even though I like all of them is r'n;b, as I find myself drowning in this music more because it just speaks to me and is one of those genres that I believe you can go to sleep to and wake up to, and it fits in any setting. Whatever was on the radio definitely influenced me, so pop, rap and r’n’b. If you could travel back in time for a month, in which musical era would you choose to experience? Definitely the 70s. There was Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, The Whispers, I find myself in this music era. When it comes to the actual instrument, I would say that the use of instruments in a different way, in the purest form, you had the guitar, piano, voices and it was overall more creative. There was a lot of soul. After that came the 80s and the introduction to synthesizer , electronic instruments to make music
What do you value more in your work, creativity or perfect execution? Creativity because not everything can be perfect. You can execute a mediocre song perfectly and it's not gonna hit the same as a creative song that somebody just uploaded on SoundCloud from their room. We’re still able to hear through the bad quality, as long as it's a good song it's a good song, whether it’s executed perfectly it's another thing but we're still able to hear that. So yeah I definitely value creativity first.. In a perfect world I would do both (laughs) ! Nija has recently released her debut solo project, “Don't Say I Didn't Warn You” available on all streaming platforms.